Written & Illustrated (Part II) / by Annemie Tonken

The day I found out I was pregnant for the first time, I went to the store and bought a journal… a blank book seemed an appropriate way to honor a new life. Over the course of my pregnancy, I filled that journal with little letters to my growing belly, and by the time that belly became Oliver, the pages were nearly filled with ultrasound pictures and baby name lists and my thoughts and fears and excitement about becoming a mother. One day, when Oliver is grown, when the time seems right, he'll get that journal and hear the echoes of his 26 year-old mother's voice, telling him how much he was loved from the very first day, even before anyone knew he was a he.Chapel Hill Child Portraits

99% of the time, when someone chooses to invest in my work, they're looking to capture the same complicated, profound emotion in photographs that I sought to record in my journal… whether about their commitment to a marriage, their love for a child, or their bond as a family. I work hard to convey those emotions, and am assured by my clients that I succeed, but sometimes I wonder if I could do more.Chapel Hill Nature PhotographerWhen I'm commissioned to photograph a family or an event, no matter how expressive my imagery, the details of the stories I'm illustrating are known only to a few people. A mother can look at a picture of her young child fifty years later and recall at a glance the way he got the small cut on his chin, the smell of the dewy grass that early spring morning, and the intensity of her love for that wild, wondrous boy. But the boy, grown and looking at the same image, just sees a picture of himself as a young child, perhaps accompanied by a vague memory of that place or those shoes or being told he needed to smile and cooperate. And the boy's children and grandchildren and anyone else who might stumble on the album will only ever see what is printed on the page... that and nothing more. Without explication, the story behind the images is diluted… or lost entirely.

And that's where I think I may have something different to offer… something I've never seen offered anywhere else.Chapel Hill Children PhotographerAs of today, I am very excited to introduce a new option to my portrait and wedding clients: "Written & Illustrated" is a package designed for those who want to chronicle the particulars that enrich their story, in word and in pictures, both as a reminder to themselves, and so that they can pass that story on for generations to come. It will require that clients complete a detailed questionnaire and an in-person meeting prior to our session/event, and likely a follow-up call or two as the final draft is scripted. The session will be tailored so that it best suits the story, and the end product will be a book unlike any other… written & illustrated just for you.Hillsborough Portrait PhotographerI'm looking for two portrait clients to share their stories and help me create a couple of samples for this new body of work. Because it is a brand new process, I will waive the fee for the Written & Illustrated work for those willing to play the guinea pig (session and album pricing will still apply), so if you think that you or someone you love might be interested, now is an excellent time! Drop me an email and let me know who you are and a little about your story… I'd be honored to help you tell it.Chapel Hill Children Photographer

xox,

annemie